‘Centre will take up fishermen issue with Lanka'

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Wednesday said India would take up the issue of torture and attacks on Tamil fishermen with the Sri Lankan authorities and ensure protective cover for them as long as they do not stray into the Sri Lankan water.

“Both the countries are working out bilateral institutional arrangements for ensuring the safety and security of the fishermen of both the countries and addressing such issues in a humane and practical way,” he said in the Rajya Sabha. While giving clarifications on his statement on a ‘Calling Attention Motion on the killing of Indian fishermen and continuous attack on them by Sri Lankan Navy,' Mr. Krishna claimed that the incidents of apprehending Indian fishermen and firing on them in the waters between India and Sri Lanka had come down significantly after October 2008 understanding on the issue.

“In 2008, 1,456 Indian fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy. In 2009, those apprehended came down to 127. In 2010, till end of July this year, 26 fishermen were apprehended. In 2008, the number of fishermen reported killed was 5 with 1 missing. In 2009, no fisherman was killed or missing… It is, therefore, evident that the October 2008 understanding has had a salutary effect on the situation,” he said.

Mr. Krishna said: “It is important that we sensitise our fishermen to respect the International Maritime Boundary Line and not stray into Lankan waters for their own safety and security.”

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